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peter gilyard

Peter Gilyard

He made his acting debut in 1981 in Diff’rent Strokes and went on to be a regular in many TV series throughout the 1980s. Gilyard’s breakout role came in 1986 as Navy F-14 Tomcat pilot, Sundown, in the movie Top Gun.

He was also known for playing computer-terror expert Theo in Die Hard and a long-standing character on Matlock as Ben Matlock’s right-hand man, Conrad McMasters. He later starred as Jimmy Trivette on the 1990s crime drama Walker, Texas Ranger, opposite Chuck Norris.

Clarence Gilyard Jr.

Born in Moses Lake, Washington, on December 24, 1955, Gilyard is the son of a U.S. Air Force officer. He grew up on several air bases throughout the United States, including one year at the Air Force Academy.

In 1980, Gilyard relocated to Los Angeles and began acting. He later made guest appearances on a variety of television shows, including Diff’rent Strokes, CHiPs and Simon & Simon.

His film debut came in 1986 when he starred in the movie Top Gun as Radar Intercept Officer (RIO) Marcus “Sundown” Williams. In 1988, he appeared in Die Hard as Theo, a criminal computer expert.

Gilyard also played James Trivette, the right-hand man of Chuck Norris’ Cordell Walker in the long-running TV series Walker, Texas Ranger from 1993 to the early aughts. He died on November 28, 2022 at the age of 66.

A devout Catholic, Gilyard was active in the Catholic church and served as a consultant to the United States Bishops Communications Committee. He is survived by his wife Elena and their three children.


Peter Gilyard is one of the children of Clarence Gilyard and Elena. He was born in 2007 and is currently 15 years old.

The actor grew up in Moses Lake, Washington. He attended Eisenhower High School in Rialto, California and was an excellent student. He later joined the United States Air Force Academy.

Afterward, he transferred to Sterling College in central Kansas. He was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity and played football. He was also offered a tennis scholarship, but he dropped out before finishing his studies.

He married twice in his lifetime and had five children. The first wife, Catherine Dutko, shared two kids with him but she divorced him after a couple of years. He then married Elena Gilyard in 2001 and is currently enjoying their blissful married life together.


Peter Gilyard was an American actor who is best known for his roles in popular television series, including Matlock and Walker Texas Ranger. He was born in Moses Lake, Washington, and raised in a military family that lived at various airbases across the country.

Gilyard began his acting career in the early 1980s and was cast in numerous film and TV productions. His breakout role was as F-14 Tomcat Radar Intercept Officer (RIO), LTJG Marcus “Sundown” Williams, in the 1986 action film Top Gun.

His next big role was in 1988’s Die Hard as Theo, a computer expert and thief. He also played a major role in the first two films of the Left Behind series.

After taking a break to teach college, Gilyard returned to the screen in 2012, mostly in independent projects. He also appeared in the 2014 religious movie A Matter of Faith. He died on November 28, 2022, from cancer. He was 66 years old.


Aside from acting, Gilyard also taught at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

He was known for his role as Conrad McMasters on Matlock (played by Andy Griffith) from 1989 to 1993. He also appeared on shows like Diff’rent Strokes, The Facts of Life, 227 and Simon & Simon.

Gilyard was born in 1955 in Moses Lake, Washington, United States. He was the son of Clarence Gilyard Sr.

After he grew up, Gilyard started a career in Hollywood and made his acting debut in the play Bleacher Bums. He later got his first movie role in 1986 as an F-14 Tomcat Radar Intercept Officer (RIO) in Top Gun.

But before he could be a legitimate actor, Gilyard faced many challenges in his life. He struggled with addiction, marital infidelity and felt his life had no meaning. Then, he went to Mass and found God’s grace in his life. He became a Catholic.

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